First-time shoplifters ‘stealing to eat’ as cost of living crisis deepens

FIRST-time shoplifters are “stealing to eat” due to the cost of living crisis, supermarket bosses say.

Crooks usually take more expensive items to sell on — such as booze and razors.

Shoplifting is on the rise and stores have increased security


Shoplifting is on the rise and stores have increased securityCredit: Alamy

But now stores are being hit by big rises in the theft of “daily essential and low-value items” — and say levels “are off the charts”.

To help track people coming in and out, some shops have ­reintroduced the one-way entry and exit points they set up during the pandemic.

Others have beefed up security with more staff and extra CCTV cameras.

One store boss told trade magazine The Grocer: “With the cost of living, people are having to start making choices.”

Food poverty expert and Ulster University lecturer Dr Sinéad Furey said: “The return of ‘stealing to eat’ instead of being able to afford to eat is proof we need policy solutions so resorting to crime does not become a mainstream means of securing basic essentials.”

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Research by the Food Foundation showed in April 7.3 million UK adults skipped meals, reduced meal size or went without food for a day due to costs.

Clive Black, of analysts Shore Capital, said that with police and courts unable to cope, the “temptation to shoplift is likely to grow for some.”

Families £500 hit

INFLATION will leave the average family £500 worse off this year, Labour claim.

They want a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas ­producers to cut £600 off home energy bills.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden said: “The Chancellor needs to pass the emergency budget Labour are calling for — or risk plunging the economy into an even deeper crisis.”


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